Damn you United States Postal Service

Since the Tact-Tiles Kickstarter began, the one thing that has constantly come back to haunt me is the price for international shipping. Simply put, people cannot believe it costs that much to ship a set of tiles outside the United States. Some have even implied that we're intentionally inflating the price and ripping people off.

Well, we're not. The USPS, using a Flat Rate Box, is the cheapest possible way to ship a set of Tact-Tiles. And even then, in some cases, we're going to take a hit to absorb some of the costs.

Don't believe me? This is a screen capture straight from the USPS website...

Now tack on what we're paying for packaging and handling with our fulfillment partner, and we're actually out a few bucks.

We've looked at UPS, FedEx and DHL, only to find they are FAR more expensive. We've also looked at different distribution methods, and potentially using Amazon for fulfillment. No luck there either. Our volumes don't simply don't justify the added expense, and the fact that Tact-Tiles are produced 100% in the US keeps us from being able to cut corners by distributing straight from an overseas factory.

So there you go. Now you know why it costs what it costs.

That said, we very much appreciate everyone who has backed Tact-Tiles, despite the excessive shipping costs.

Please continue to help us spread the word!

A Few Updates

Nova Praxis: Savage Worlds Edition - We're still tweaking things, but layout is underway. I'm about 70 pages in and plan to get with Sean sometime in the next few days to start applying the last few coats of polish.

Tact-Tiles - This has probably been the most infuriating project I've ever tackled, but thing continue to look up. We did some ink testing yesterday, and got the first 100 tiles in the queue for printing tomorrow or Thursday. I'm hoping to shoot the video for the Kickstarter this weekend!

Machinations - Content is mostly complete. Layout is mostly complete. Art is getting closer. Vague I know. Sorry. With everything else going on I've had trouble getting it wrapped up. But I promise it frustrates me more than it does you.

More Tact-Tiles News

We received our first 100 Tact-Tiles yesterday. These were produced to test inks, fit, flatness, etc. They had a few minor issues, but nothing that can't be fixed relatively easily. And I was able to test the marker adhesion, which proved to stick to the tiles as we'd hoped, and easily wipe away clean.

We dropped several off with our silk-screener, who will hopefully (fingers crossed!) be testing the ink today.

Our hope is to have a few sets of "finished" Tact-Tiles to endurance test over the weekend. We're going to be making sure the plastic doesn't scratch too easily and that the ink doesn't chip off or easily scratch away.

Nova Praxis: Savage Worlds Edition is Funded!

Stick a fork in her, she's done folks! 185% funded for $12K. Many thanks to all of you!

We are going to try our best to hit an August release in hopes of getting the book out in time for GenCon.

We'll be keeping you up to date, and if it looks like we're going to hit GenCon, I'll let everyone know if they'll be able to pick up their print copies there.

We also managed to unlock the following Stretch goals:

$8,000 - The Augmented PDF - We will develop an Augmented version of the PDF. Evolved backers will get both the regular PDF, and the Augmented PDF, at no additional cost.

$8,500 - Game Master's Screen - We will develop a Nova Praxis: Savage Worlds Edition Game Master's Screen PDF. Evolved backers will get this PDF for free.

$9,500 - Ghosts in Darkness - We will develop and release the introductory scenario, Ghosts in Darkness for Nova Praxis: Savage Worlds Edition. Evolved backers will get this PDF for free when it is released.

$10,000 - Work Hazards - We will begin developing Work Hazards, a book of alien creatures, biotechnological horrors, combat drones, terrorists, pirates and other NPCs to challenge your players with. Evolved backers will get this PDF for free when it is released. Work Hazards will be released featuring both Savage Worlds and Fate stats.

$11,000 - Nova Praxis Cards - We will develop a custom set of Nova Praxis playing cards for use in determining initiative. These cards will be available through DrivethruCards around the same time the book releases. Evolved backers will get a PDF of these cards for free.

$12,000 - Fragmentation - Mike McConnell will begin writing Fragmentation, a Nova Praxis novel. Evolved backers will get this ebook/PDF for free when it is released.

The primary focus for the next two months will be getting the printed version of NP:SWE out the door. The Augmented PDF will be developed somewhat in parallel, and should follow a few weeks.

The other projects will follow shortly after, with attention shifting to the novel as the other products start wrapping up.

Playtesting

Playtesting for NP:SWE will continue. All backers will continue to have access to the live playtest doc until June 27th, after which this playtest doc will no longer be available. Evolved and Transcendent backers will continue to receive occasional updates until release.

In addition, Evolved and Transcendent backers will receive an alpha version sometime before Monday, June 16th. This alpha verison will be a cobbled together blend of setting material from the Fate version and the new rules. Layout and art will not be complete, or even close, but the alpha version will be around 90% content complete.

Tact-Tiles Progress! For real this time!

After one unspeakably frustrating false start after another, we've finally got a pseudo-sample tile in hand.

What you're looking at in the pics below (click to see more) is one of the original Tact-Tiles (left) mated with the first new Tact-Tile (black) to be produced in nearly a decade. This one is actually from a sample of the material they had on hand today. The real material won't be in for a few days yet, and will obviously be lighter. This was just produced to make sure the mold is okay, and to do a fit check.

It passed! It mates really well, and it's nice, flat, and rigid.

The finished version will look like the one on the left, but with gray lines instead of brown.

We're going to push hard to get these out in the same release window as D&D5e and the Savage Worlds version of Nova Praxis. Expect the Kickstarter to fire up sometime in the next few weeks!

Nova Praxis: Savage Worlds Edition is Funded!

We did it! With 11 days to go, the Kickstarter for the Savage Worlds version of Nova Praxis has been funded!

Now to see if we can hit some of those stretch goals!

In other news, I suppose I should give an update on our other projects.

Tact-Tiles

We're cursed. That's the only explanation. The gods hate Tact-Tiles. They loaded the tool into the injection machine, turned it on, and blew a bunch of bolts. Repairs are under way. This is, I believe, the third time the machine has gone down.

Machinations

It's basically done. We just need to get the remaining art and finalize layout. I'm hoping to get it released around the same time as "Savage Praxis".

Almost there!

With 16 days to go, the Nova Praxis: Savage Worlds Edition is almost funded. Development is well underway. And while we've hit a few snags, we are still on track to deliver a playtest document to backers early next week.

And while we've heard it before, we're finally supposed to get samples from the plastic injection molders for Tact-Tiles this week. We've been bumped by larger customers more than once, and had the machine break down a few times, but dammit I think we're finally getting there.

Status Update

The Nova Praxis Savage Worlds Edition Kickstarter is doing well. It became over half-way funded in 3 days. But we're still a ways off from being fully backed, and even farther from those great stretch goals. So please, continue to spread the word!

The bad news this week is that we've hit yet another snag with the manufacturer for Tact-Tiles. We're promised samples early next week, but then, we were promised samples last week and the week before that too though. Samples are running a month late. Enough is enough.

I'm not putting a hold on them in case, by some miracle, we actually do get samples next week. But we're going to start looking for another supplier.

The state of Machinations remains much the same as it was in the last update. I got the edits back from Joshua and he has done a wonderful job of catching typos, grammar issues, and editing for clarity. Now the big wait is for art. I've got a few orders out, and will post them as they become available, starting with this one...

If you've been following me on G+, or watching the NP:SWE Kickstarter, you've probably already seen this. It's a piece featuring a Samurai from House Kimura and his recon frame.

The Latest

Nova Praxis: Savage Worlds Edition

We're going live Tuesday! Click here to see the preview page.

Tact-Tiles

So they finally got the machine repaired. They're going to have a scheduling meeting tomorrow and we've been promised that we're first in line to get our samples.

Machinations

Machinations and "Savage Praxis" share some art. Otherwise, that's just about all we're waiting on before its release.

Nova Praxis

We just released an update to the PDFs for the original Nova Praxis. Check it out!

*sigh* More Delays

On the Tact-Tiles front, it would appear that our mold is STILL stuck in the machine and the repair guy is, I guess, riding in from Cambodia on a unicycle. It boggles my mind that this is taking as long as it is, but it's out of our hands.

The weather hasn't helped. As you may have heard, we've had some nasty storms here in North Alabama this week, which also delayed the meeting I'd planned to have with Sean to discuss the Savage Worlds version of Nova Praxis. We're planning to have that meeting tonight.

Speaking of "Savage Praxis", I got some more art ordered and the Kickstarter page is pretty much done. Now I just have to figure out why Amazon locked me out of my payments account. I can't fire up the Kickstarter until that gets sorted out, so I guess that's the next hurdle to clear.

In other news, someone mentioned that I didn't plug our Facebook site in the last post. We have one, but the truth is I just don't like Facebook all that much so it doesn't get as much love as our G+ or Reddit site. Same for Twitter. But if you use those, and want to follow me, click on CONTACT AND RETAILER INFO above for the links.

So I guess their phones work after all?

After failing to return our calls and reply to emails for almost two weeks, I FINALLY got some answers out the manufacturing manager at the plant responsible for running our Tact-Tiles mold.

He told me that the machine was down with our tool inside. Apparently it went down last week and they are still waiting on the repair guy. He was supposed to be there last week, and should arrive "any day now". He promised to give me a call and do better with communication in the future. We'll see.

They're supposed to give me a call before they run the first samples so that I can be on hand to do an on-the-spot approval and make sure the new tiles correctly interlock with old tiles.

Hopefully that'll be sometime in the next few days. I'm meeting with Sean on Friday to discuss his progress on the Savage Worlds version of Nova Praxis. The Kickstarter for it is just about ready to fire up, and I'm hoping I can post a big update full of good news on Monday.

Fingers crossed!

The Good and the Bad

First, the good news:

I'm currently working on putting together the Nova Praxis: Savage Worlds Edition Kickstarter site. It won't be long now!

Then, the bad news:

The injection molding company was supposed to deliver samples of the new Tact-Tiles last Monday. They didn't. Worse, they haven't returned our call or responded to emails. This isn't a fly-by-night company. They are an established supplier. So I'm not sure what the issue is. 

Regardless, we may have to start looking for someone else. And needless to say, I am not pleased.